Within the community we live, on our small street, there is a group of neighborhood youth…some who are now becoming young adults, whom the Lord has graciously allowed us to develop relationship with. We believe they can influence change within their community.
One of the many things we do with them is teach English. Primarily to spend intentional quality time with them each week, while empowering them with a resource to help them find employment.
Over time, we’ve been discovering how to ask questions that allow us to learn more about one another. We often ask them if God spoke to them or if he taught them something over the past week. Recently I had a visitor pose a question to one of our youth that I anticipated a different answer from. She asked, “What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?” His response was “That is only for God to know and do.”
I struggled with that response. What I unexpectedly heard from this youth was a fatalistic attitude, common in Haiti’s animistic culture. Fatalism is the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. A passive acceptance, a submissive attitude that the outcome of his life has been determined in advance, and there is nothing he can do. What will be, will be.
I sought the Word before we met the next week. I shared that as we grow up, we learn right from wrong. While God does know all things, and He does desire to do a work in us, we have been given a choice to allow Him to do so. God speaks to our hearts, but we must choose how to respond. In Galatians we learn about sowing and reaping…negative and positive consequences. God reveals truth. He clearly defines right and wrong, and His people are expected to do what’s right. However, just as in the Garden of Eden, while Adam was expected to obey, Adam was given freedom to choose. Cain was warned by God the he would be held personally responsible for his choices. Paul was given the responsibility to share the Gospel with the Gentiles, he still had to choose to do so.
By Sharron Mathis